Taking Off the Fourth Quarter

All I do is score points- Gronkowski family proverb

If you just looked at the final score of the Patriots win over the Colts on Sunday yopu might be fooled into thinking the Patriots just escaped with a  victory. That the Colts kept the game close and the Patriots might not have deserved the 20 point spread they were favored by. You would be wrong.

The Patriots dominated the Colts for three quarters, jumping out to a 31-3 lead, and then took the rest of Sunday off. It is rather tiring absolutely steam rolling opponents week in and week out after all. The win pushes the Patriots record to 9-3 allowing them to keep pace with the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

On offense the Patriots stuck with the same game plan they’ve been utilizing all season. Hitting Welker a ton, 11 receptions for 110 yards for the NFL’s leading receiver, except when the Patriots neared the end zone then it is strictly Gronkowski time. Gronkowski set the single seas touchdown record for a tight end yesterday by catching two and running one in as well. Just get him the ball near the goal line and he is going to end up putting six points on the board. Tom Brady missed passing for 300 yards (come on

It's not intercepting passes but getting sacks is good as well.

Tom 293 isn’t going to get you past Marino’s record) but that was mainly because in the fourth quarter he was chucking balls deep on many first downs and then handing the ball off on second and third. The rushing attack did leave something to be desired thought amassing only 73 yards on 24 carries. Stevan Ridley had a team high 33 yards in a game in which the Patriots packed it up and just tried to wait out the clock at the end.

Jarod Mayo said he was disappointed with how the defense played in the fourth quarter. The defense did allow to Dan Orlovsky to throw for 353 yards and they did allow 21 points in the fourth quarter. Obviously at the point the game was a laugher and it would have taken a miracle for the Colts to actually come back and win but it is a bit distressing that the defense was that weak even when they could rest on a big lead. You still want to close games out strong because come playoff time you won’t have 30 point leads to rest on.  Patriots fans have to hope that New England just zoned out and went through the motions on Sunday and also hope that it does not happen again. It’s rare to see a Belichick squad look unmotivated and I’m sure Belichick will not let the fourth quarter failures go unnoticed. It was good to see Devin McCourty back in the secondary to strengthen the Patriots flimsy secondary. At some point they might have had to bring in rowdy fans to play zone coverages this season. Mayo and Vince Wilfork looked like the dominating, and veteran, leaders of this team totally a combined 17 tackles with Wilfork picking up ma sack as well and Mayo grabbing an interception.

This game needs to be looked at with some perspective. Yes the Patriots did not win by 20 points but they did dominate the majority of the game. They just looked uninspired in garbage time allowing the Colts to put up some meaningless points (unless you bet on the game that is). So what to take from this game is that the Patriots are still a flawed team, but that isn’t news to anybody. Everyone in the league knows the defense is weak yet here they are after week 13 with the AFC pretty much locked up and a real chance at the No. 1 seed in playoffs. Plus it’s not as if the other AFC favorites aren’t without weaknesses. (Pittsburgh only managed a 13-9 win over Kansas City, The Ravens offense can look like a middle school team at times and the Texans are starting a quarterback who barely kept an ACC team afloat a season ago). And those teams don’t get to play the Redskins next week.

-Phil

Think the Patriots got exposed even in victory? Let us know via Twitter (@seeuinoctober) or in the comments.

 

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